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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

SCIFI.COM | The Amazing Screw-On Head
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:18 am EDT, Jul 29, 2006

In this hilarious send-up of Lovecraftian horror and steampunk adventure, President Abraham Lincoln's top spy is a bodyless head known only as Screw-On Head.

Excellent pilot.

SCIFI.COM | The Amazing Screw-On Head

Games * Design * Art * Culture
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:42 pm EDT, Jul 20, 2006

I spent some time fantasizing about writing an article, possibly for The Escapist called "The Non-Booth Babes of E3". Interview people like Kathy Schoback and Elonka Dunin and Terri Perkins who have real and important roles in the industry, photograph them at their companies' booths, make the point that it is possible to be female and more than a smile and a pair of tits and have a role in the game industry. How many women are deterred from working in the industry because of its objectification of women, both in its products and at its trade shows?

Games * Design * Art * Culture

PNC Park Threatens To Leave Pittsburgh Unless Better Team Is Built | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:51 am EDT, Jul 20, 2006

After five years of serving Pittsburgh as their state-of-the-art sporting facility, PNC Park, the home of the rundown, poorly maintained Pirates, said Tuesday it is threatening to leave Pittsburgh unless a new team can be built within the next three years.

PNC Park Threatens To Leave Pittsburgh Unless Better Team Is Built | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

Be right back...
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:20 am EDT, Jul  9, 2006

# The first rule of Maintenance is - you do not talk about Maintenance.
# The second rule of Maintenance is - you DO NOT talk about Maintenance.

Be right back...

American Scientist Online - The Source of Europe's Mild Climate
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:27 am EDT, Jul  7, 2006

The Gulf Stream indeed contributes to Europe's warmth, but it is wrong to conflate the climate difference across the North Atlantic with the northward flow of warm water in the Gulf Stream. This erroneous logic leads to such statements as (from The Times of London): "The British Isles lie on the same latitude as Labrador on the East Coast of Canada, and are protected from a similarly icy climate by the Atlantic conveyor belt." Such claims are absolutely wrong.

American Scientist Online - The Source of Europe's Mild Climate

Minyanville - VAR
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:21 am EDT, Jul  1, 2006

I have mentioned that the Fed has actually targeted volatility, desiring to reduce it so that investors take more risk. Remember, taking risk is inflationary while avoiding it is deflationary. A prime example of the Fed doing this is ARMs. Remember when Greenspan pointed out to home-owners how much money they were giving away in interest by holding fixed mortgages instead of flipping into adjustable rate mortgages? Why was this done?

When a home-owner holds a fixed mortgage, they hold an option, a very valuable one. At any time they can refinance when rates go lower (for a fee). This option makes them long volatility, a position home-owners have held for decades. Lenders are short this option. We have explained this in detail when talking about Fannie Mae (FNM): when prepayments occur because of refinancing, FNM must rebalance their duration and buy bonds as they are rising in price (yield falling). The more rates move around the more FNM (or any lender holding a mortgage as an asset), the more FNM must adjust; each time they do it is a cost.

When home-owners en mass flipped into ARMs, they became sellers of volatility (they gave up this option) and lenders became long volatility (exchanged convexity risk for default risk). The absolutely massive amounts of ARMs significantly reduced volatility in the bond market, which transferred into all markets.

The Fed used the home-owner to reduce volatility. VAR went down and investors took more risk.

Minyanville - VAR

IBM developerWorks : Blogs : building tools to support software development teams
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:40 pm EDT, Jun 23, 2006

Up until last week, I thought that the notion of automated unit tests was relatively new; introduced in the last five to ten years by the agile/XP crowd. Boy was I wrong. Once again I find that whenever I find a "new" technique in software development that is a boon to productivity and/or quality, there's a good chance that Parnas/Dijkstra/Brooks wrote about it - in detail - before I was born.
What is hard is living it in your day-to-day development, when you're under the gun to deliver new function and declare bugs fixed. This is where culture comes in. If the culture says that you're not done until your code is Java doc'd and unit tests are written, then code will get Java doc'd and unit tests will get written. If your culture says that you're done when your software simply appears to work, over time your software, your team, your customers, and your partners will all suffer the consequences.

IBM developerWorks : Blogs : building tools to support software development teams

IBM developerWorks : Blogs : building tools to support software development teams
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:36 pm EDT, Jun 23, 2006

A basic idea in iterative development is that at regular (preferably short) intervals, you produce a working system with some subset of the final features of the planned release. A trick to make this more real and more tangible to developers is to find some venue where you can demo your new version of the software at the end of the interval. The rules are simple - demonstrate an interesting set of scenarios that cut across the system and fake as little as possible. The requirement to produce working code by a hard deadline is a powerful motivating factor that helps drive issues to closure by starkly constraining the 'time' leg of the resource triangle. Also, if your iteration's work isn't in the demo, it feels like you didn't really deliver anything, which is a very bad feeling in a culture where the ultimate measure of success is delivering working, high-quality software.

This is one of the nice features from Scrum that we use.

IBM developerWorks : Blogs : building tools to support software development teams

APOD: 2006 June 21 - Sunrise Solstice at Stonehenge
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:55 am EDT, Jun 22, 2006

Today the Sun reaches its northernmost point in the planet Earth's sky. Called a solstice, the date traditionally marks a change of seasons -- from spring to summer in Earth's Northern Hemisphere and from fall to winter in Earth's Southern Hemisphere. Pictured above is the 2005 Summer Solstice celebration at Stonehenge in England.

APOD: 2006 June 21 - Sunrise Solstice at Stonehenge

A Star Is Made - New York Times
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:04 am EDT, Jun 20, 2006

If you were to examine the birth certificates of every soccer player in next month's World Cup tournament, you would most likely find a noteworthy quirk: elite soccer players are more likely to have been born in the earlier months of the year than in the later months. If you then examined the European national youth teams that feed the World Cup and professional ranks, you would find this quirk to be even more pronounced. On recent English teams, for instance, half of the elite teenage soccer players were born in January, February or March, with the other half spread out over the remaining 9 months. In Germany, 52 elite youth players were born in the first three months of the year, with just 4 players born in the last three.

A Star Is Made - New York Times

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